A schema is a cognitive framework that permits individuals to efficiently organize and interpret incoming information. Schemas are the brain’s strategy for making processing shortcuts to optimally predict, navigate, and adjust to various situations. We develop schemas for just about everything (e.g., ourselves, others, how we should act in certain situations, general social knowledge). One classic example involves the behavioral scripts we generate for dining in a restaurant. Because of repeated experiences, our brains know what to expect when we go out to dine, and the general procedure becomes fairly automatic (e.g., enter the restaurant, order, eat, pay, and exit). Schemas are often useful in that they help individuals to organize current knowledge and provide a framework for future understanding. They are also adaptive ...

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